Dr Michael Mosley on the benefits of exercise
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After a gluttonous Christmas, it is worth getting back into a fitness routine. However, this doesn’t have to be intense – according to Steven Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, the north of England’s leading mid-market health club, just going for a short walk is sufficient.
While spending time at home, Steven urged slimmers to “keep moving”.
This can be done just by doing household chores.
The fitness expert said: “Helping around the house is actually a fantastic way to burn calories without even realising it.
“Studies estimate that around 10 to 15 percent of our total daily energy expenditure happens through NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), which is all those movements in your daily life that don’t feel like exercise, and you do without thinking about.”
These could be tasks such as going upstairs, preparing dinner, or getting up to make a cup of tea.
Steven continued: “Of course, planned exercise contributes to fat loss, too, but it can be hard to find time amongst preparations and entertaining family.
“Can’t commit to an hour’s workout? No problem! Your body can achieve a great deal in as little as 10 minutes.
“If you’re a little time-strapped and can’t make it to the gym, there remains a huge amount of workout content available online, with many personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts offering routines and circuits of varying lengths to help you stay in shape at home.
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“If you can only allow a short window for exercise, make it count with a HIIT session (High Intensity Interval Training) that targets one area of your body, then shake it up the next day with another routine that’s set to target a different muscle group.
“With consistency results will come.”
Another of Steven’s top tips is to drink plenty of water.
He said: “Drinking plenty of water not only supresses appetite but also boosts your metabolism, helping you to digest treats faster and more efficiently.”
When it comes to diet, Steven stressed that slimmers don’t need to avoid all treats – the most important thing is “portion control”.
“You don’t need to say no to dessert altogether, simply take a smaller portion,” he said.
Steven added: “If temptation has been known to get the better of you in the past, be sure fill up on protein before dessert comes around.
“Protein is highly satiating and will keep you feeling fuller for longer – and of course it’s great for growing muscle, too.”
Walking is another easy activity slimmers can do to keep fit.
Steven said: “A leisurely winter walk is a popular tradition around Christmas time and is a great way to gently increase your heart rate whilst enjoying the company of loved ones over the festive period.
“Throw on a warm coat and get your family out for some fresh air or buddy up with a friend and commit to a regular morning walk to kick start your metabolism for the day.
“Walking in colder temperatures is especially effective for burning calories, as our bodies must work harder to regulate our core body temperature.”
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